Former Nakheel CEO seeks $3.7m as part of legal battle

Chris O'Donnell, who was paid over $1m a year, filed a breach of contract suit in June
Former Nakheel CEO seeks $3.7m as part of legal battle
By Shane McGinley
Mon 11 Jul 2011 10:34 AM

The former CEO of Dubai’s Nakheel, who launched a legal battle against the developer last month, is seeking $3.7m in unpaid dues from his former employer, court documents confirmed.

On June 22, Chris O’Donnell, who had been at the helm of the iconic property developer for five years, filed a lawsuit at the Dubai World Tribunal, and court documents now confirm the amount he is seeking in the case is $3.7m.

O’Donnell stepped down from his post in early June and, in a statement confirming his departure in June 8, Nakheel claimed he had left the company “after completing his contract terms”.

However, O’Donnell is claiming he is due $3m in long-term incentive payments as part of his employment contract. He is also seeking a further $180,000 in interest payments, $290,850 for damages related to exchange rate losses between the dirham and the Australian dollar and $231,219 in additional dues.

While documents confirmed the former real estate boss had earned AED3.79m ($1.03m) a year, he is also seeking a business-class airline ticket from Dubai to Australia as part of his legal claim.

A spokesperson for the developer said it could not comment on legal proceedings. O’Donnell’s legal representative confirmed the case had been filed but declined to comment further on the exact details of the case.

Nakheel’s former CEO joined the company in 2006, going on to steer it through the collapse of Dubai’s property market and the suspension of billions of dollars of Nakheel real estate projects.

The Dubai World subsidiary, which has completed a restructuring of nearly $10.8bn in debt, was one of the biggest casualties of the property crash after overstretching itself with ambitious projects such as Palm Jumeirah and the offshore World island development.

O’Donnell’s case is one of a rash of legal actions that have been filed against the state-owned developer in recent months.

The master developer last week signed agreements on its operational and financial separation from indebted conglomerate Dubai World and it confirmed that is now wholly owned and controlled by the Dubai government.

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